How to report identity theft.

It only takes a few simple steps to report identity theft and clear up your good name and end the devastating financial and emotional harm caused by identity theft.

Step One

Set an initial fraud alert with at least one of the three major credit bureaus. Only one is needed because the credit bureaus are required to alert each other when a fraud alert is placed. If you want to be sure fraud alerts are placed on all three then feel free to contact all three. It doesn’t take much time to take this first step to report identity theft and doing so will give you a little additional peace of mind.

Step Two

Obtain your free annual credit report and review it closely to identify which accounts are the result of identity theft.

Step Three

Complete an identity theft affidavit. Be sure to fill it out accurately and completely. You can be criminally prosecuted for lying in an identity theft affidavit.

Step Four

File a police report of the identity theft. No, the police probably won’t do anything to actually help; however, the police identity theft report itself is an invaluable and often required part of clearing up your credit information resulting from identity theft.

Step Five

Contact the three major credit bureaus in writing and request they delete the information that is the result of identity theft. Identify the information clearly and include a copy of the police report and identity theft affidavit to prove your request is valid.

Step Six

Contact each creditor involved and close all accounts that are the result of identity theft. As you did earlier, include a copy of the police report and identity theft affidavit. When you close the accounts also ask the lender to send you all the documentation it has about the account. This will later help with the investigation of the identity theft.

Step Seven

The final step to correctly report identity theft is to set an extended fraud alert on your credit reports. This alert is valid for seven years and works well to prevent future theft of your identity from occurring during that time.

Conclusion

Not all identity theft can be corrected in this way but the more simple case can be. If the above steps to report identity theft fail or if more complicated issues arise, such as criminal identity theft or mortgage identity theft, you should contact an attorney to assist you.